Is I'm Still Here Eligible for a Best Documentary Oscar?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 20 2010 5:35 PM

Is I'm Still Here Eligible for a Best Documentary Oscar?


When I'm Still Here debuted at the Venice Film Festival, it was billed as a documentary tracking Joaquin Phoenix's retirement from acting, pursuit of a career as a hip hop artist, and attendant drug- and alcohol-fuelled debauchery. Critics, including our own Dana Stevens , questioned whether the film was, in fact, a documentary, or rather a bizarre hoax.  Last week, Casey Affleck, the film's director, admitted to the Times that the film is "performance art." (That is, a hoax.) Can I'm Still Here , a film marketed as a documentary, but plainly a piece of fiction, qualify for a best documentary award at the Oscars?


No. Just because you call your movie a documentary doesn't mean the Academy has to agree with you. According to the rules for the 83 rd Academy Awards , eligible docs may "employ partial reenactment, stock footage, stills," and animation but their "emphasis" must be "on fact and not on fiction." I'm Still Here clearly doesn't fit the bill.

A spokeswoman from the Academy has told Slate that, regardless of the film's content, it came out too late to qualify for the Best Documentary award the cutoff is August 31 st 2010, and I'm Still Here hit American theaters on September 10 th .  There is still time, however, to submit the film for the Best Motion Picture category, which closes December 1 st .  And since Phoenix is playing a part (albeit a fictionalized version of himself), he's eligible for a Best Actor nomination.



Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?


Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 3:53 PM Smash and Grab Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?
Oct. 20 2014 5:39 PM Whole Foods Desperately Wants Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 5:03 PM Marcel the Shell Is Back and as Endearing as Ever
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.